Canada girds for substantial military role in North Africa

(Globe and Mail) – Although Libya’s opposition has until now insisted the world should not intervene with armed force, The New York Times reported that the nascent revolutionary council is debating whether to ask the West to intervene with air strikes under a United Nations banner.

One Canadian evacuation flight Sunday did evacuate one Canadian and 46 others from an oilfield near Ghat in southwest Libya.

Britain sent commandos in a weekend military mission to pluck 150 oil workers from the desert without permission from the Libyan government – but Mr. Mackay declined to say anything about the role of Canadian special forces.

The Canadian military has authorized “force protection” for the evacuation missions flown by military C-17 and Hercules planes, including Canadian Forces crews that are “part of the force protection package.” Guardian interactive map of Libya.

While some Western countries, notably Britain, has pushed for a no-fly zone, others such as France and Italy have stressed that humanitarian aid should be the priority, before military operations. Russia and China, which both hold vetoes on the United Nations Security Council, oppose the idea of military intervention, including a no-fly zone. About 29,000 Chinese nationals have left Libya, but only 2,500 have so far returned to China, with the rest in neighbouring countries.

Libya: Tony Blair agreed to train Gaddafi’s special forces in ‘deal in the desert’  

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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